Panoramic radiography in evaluating the relationship of mandibular canal and impacted third molars in comparison with cone-beam computed tomography

M H Ishak, O C Zhun, R Shaari, S A Rahman, M N Hasan, M K Alam
Mymensingh Medical Journal: MMJ 2014, 23 (4): 781-6
This study evaluated the validity of panoramic radiography and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) in the assessment of mandibular canal and impacted third molar. In this descriptive-analytical study, 58 mandibular third molars from 42 patients who showed a close relationship between impacted third molar and canal on panoramic radiographs were selected. They were then classified into seven radiographic markers in panoramic radiographs (superimposition, darkening of the root, interruption of the white lines, root narrowing, canal diversion, canal narrowing, and also closed distance in OPG <1mm). The groups of markers were further assessed with CBCT to see presence or absence of contact. The three most common markers seen in panoramic images are superimposition, interruption of white line and root darkening. In CBCT, superimposition marker always presented higher frequency of contact with canal compared to non-contact group. There are 31% of teeth presented with interruption of white lines and there are 29.3% of teeth presented with superimposition. About 55.6% and 35.3% of the impacted mandibular third molars which indicated interruption of white lines and superimposition also indicated contact in the CBCT respectively. Presence or absence of radiological sign in panoramic radiography was not properly predict a close relationship with third molar and it is suggested that in case of tooth-canal overlapping, the patient should be referred for CBCT assessment.

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